The Poetic Style of e.e. Cummings

Topics: E. E. Cummings, Ezra Pound, Sonnet Pages: 3 (917 words) Published: March 11, 2014
The Poetic Style of e.e. Cummings
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are,” no one could say it better than Edward Estin Cummings, aka e.e. Cummings. Poet William Carlos Williams said that “Cumming’s means my language,” meaning that Williams enjoyed the way Cumming’s wrote poetry (Citation). It didn’t take long for Cumming’s to become “who he really was”. Cumming’s began writing poems at a very early age; this allowed him to develop a very unique style of writing poetry. Cumming’s is known for his strange use of letters, the structure of his poems, and his strange use of words.

When e.e. Cumming’s wrote poetry he had an unusual way of characterizing things. The letter I to most people is just a letter, but to e.e. Cumming’s it wasn’t. When reading his poems “i sing of Olaf glad and big” and “somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond”, Cumming’s uses the personal pronoun form of the letter “I” in the titles to downplay his point of view in the poems. Cummings often uses lower case letters where capital letters were grammatically required. In his poem “5/ derbies-with-men-in-them” found in the book American Writers Volume One he referrs to people as lower case letters, for example: a has gold

Teeth b pink
Suspenders c
Reads Atlantis
Cummings also flips this method around and uses capital letters incorrectly as well as adding spaces in unusual places. In his poems “the pho/nographisrunn/ingd o w n” and “stopS,” the use of capital letters and spaces are there to show ulterior meanings. Cummings not only uses letters as tools but also to make his readers attempt to try to understand his underlying meaning. In his poem “No Thanks,” Cummings spaces out letters and adds other punctuation marks to symbolize certain things; he uses the Capital “O” to symbolize the moon (American Writer). e.e Cummings was known for strange use of letters and spaces in his poems; he also arranges them in a strange structure as well.


Cited: Arthos, John. "The Poetry Of E. E. Cummings." American Literature 14.4 (1943): 372. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Kennedy, Richard S. "E.E. Cummings: The Emergent Style, 1916." Journal Of Modern Literature 7.2 (1979): 175. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Baym, Nina. "E.E. Cummings." The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W.W. Norton, 2008. 2173-176. Print.
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